Surprises at Potomac Conference Zoom Constituency Session

Charles Tapp was elected president of the Potomac Conference on March 14, one of the first African Americans to be named president of a state conference in an area where regional conferences are also present. As pastor of Sligo, the largest church in the conference, Tapp is well known to the constituents, but his election was surprising given the strong leadership of Bill Miller, who has been president of the conference for the past fifteen years.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/11127

I believe conference constituency meetings via zoom are a terrible idea!!! These meetings are challenging enough when conditions within the conference are excellent, and all the forces for change are acting on their best behavior. Other conferences are patiently waiting until large group meetings can be held safely. The Potomac constituency could have voted to hear reports, but elections and bylaw amendments should have been delayed until regular processes could insure transparency and equitable debate.

“…regular processes could insure transparency and equitable debate.”

Sorry, but does this really take place at constituency meetings? Granted it has been many, many years since attending such, but that was not the norm then, and many still say it is all cut and dried before hand even now.

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The Potomac conference bylaws required that there was no room for further delay. If they could have delayed, I’m sure they would have. One more problem caused by the covid pandemic.

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It seems to me the results were quite beneficial to God’s work in the region. Brother Tapp sounds like a fine leader. The procedural questions don’t appear that unusual; they remind me of a number of in person Constituency Mtgs I’ve attended, which can be quite dramatic.

Also I congratulate Steve Laing for his re election and am thrilled to find him not only apparently doing well but also back in the same Eastern time zone. We hope to see him soon!

this isn’t good…unannounced changes that have the effect of coercion, and not delegate consent, for whatever reason, can’t lead to congeniality and anything positive…this is no way to run a conference…

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The issue of no women voted into a leadership position is NOT a surprise, despite the title of this artlcle. It is sad but not surprising.

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It would be very interesting to know if the Potomac Conference constitution and by laws allows for keeping the identity of the members of the nominating committee secret. If it does that would be very unusual. Most conferences publicize those names as soon as the committee is chosen so that members who wish to have input in to the decision can contact a member of the committee and express their concerns or suggestions. This provides a safeguard for everyone concerned and prevents just the type of situation that you describe here. Since their constitution and by laws changes were referred back to committee they might want to look in to making that change before they are brought back again. In most conferences the bills for the conference are paid by the large churches and small churches would not be able to exist if it were not for the generosity of large churches. Disenfranchising large churches in this way is biting the hand that feeds you which usually does not end well.

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What goes around has come around full circle. Congratulations President Tapp. Well GC by zoom next. Blessings

Response to Jaray:
This type of meeting does take place.

One example: I was the one white woman delegate out of seven delegates that also included one black male from a Union to a GC session. All expenses paid, we attended with only one task and that was to nominate members to the nominating committee for the new NAD leader. The seven of us were in one room and given a slip of paper that said we were to nominate a white male Union President to the committee.

While it is true that we never have enough facts to make a judgment, it did make me feel uncomfortable that the name we selected was later the new NAD President.

This took place many years ago; kindly do the courtesy of not trying to unpack what I am sharing.

I am affirming Jaray’s right to ask and receive an answer.

Additionally, when my late husband and I entered the ministry in a conference in the U.S. in the 1960s, we attended the conference meetings. It came to be common knowledge that there were certain members from a certain church who planned a certain action. The organizers made sure that the delegates from that church were split into different committees and prevented from suggesting their ideas. I was 21 years of age. I was saddened. Now, 57 years later, I have served 53 years as a denominational employee and I have kept confidence what I have experienced through the years.

Kindly do not see this message as a breaking of my commitment to keep confidence, but an effort to encourage younger members of Conference Constituencies to speak up and request ethical behavior.

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